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Abbotsford Canucks

Abbotsford Drops Back-to-Back Decisions Against Ontario

Abbotsford Drops Back-to-Back Decisions Against Ontario

VANCOUVER, BC – After winning both games in their home-opening series against the Henderson Silver Knights, the Abbotsford Canucks had a rough go at things against the Ontario Reign, losing 5-2 and 3-2 to the LA Kings’ affiliate. 

Here’s how the two games boiled down in Abbotsford. 

Game 1, Oct 29

Having played the Reign away from home, it was an eager crowd that filed into Abbotsford Centre to see just what was on offer from the visitors. Ontario looked strong in their first couple of games, and Abbotsford would need their best to be able to match up with them. Justin Bailey and Nic Petan earned themselves call-ups to the NHL and were unavailable for the game.

Unfortunately for the Canucks, they didn’t get their best going. Right from puck drop, it was the Reign dominating the play. Ontario peppered Arturs Silovs with shots as the Latvian continued his strong play from his first career shutout.

Despite the flow being against them, Abbotsford struck first. Into the last moments of the first, Sheldon Dries deflected a Cam Schilling shot past Matthew Villalta to give the Canucks the lead heading into the intermission. With shots 14-6 in favour of the Reign though, there was a lot that needed to be figured out. 

The second period got underway much like the first, Ontario surging hard and fast to find the equalizer. They managed to do so, thanks in no small part to some undisciplined penalties by the Canucks. It was former Vancouver draft pick Tyler Madden that evened the game a one-apiece, blasting home the one-timer on the powerplay. 

Moments later, Johan Sodergran capitalized on a sloppy turnover by Brubacher, cutting into the slot and wristing the go-ahead goal past a helpless Silovs deep in his crease. 

Despite being heavily outshot and out-chanced, the Canucks would even this game right back up courtesy of a very fortunate goal by Dries. Throwing it on net from behind the goal line in the corner, the puck somehow found a gap between Villalta’s pad and the post, sending the two teams to the third tied at 2. 

That would really be all for the Abbotsford offense. Sean Durzi potted his first of the year just over five minutes into the third to give the Reign a 3-2 lead, before goals from Brent Sutter and Durzi again really put the game out of reach. The buzzer sounded on a disappointing 5-2 loss for the Canucks. They were simply dominated from start to finish, outshot 36-18. The only reason why they were in the game was thanks to the efforts of Silovs, who was brilliant all night. Like in previous games, Abbotsford was undisciplined, but their penalty kill has been good and stayed good Friday. It’s still not great to be relying on special teams, as the dam will break sooner or later.

Game 2, Oct 30

With spooky season in full swing, the Canucks returned to action the very next day, hoping to get some revenge for probably their worst game of the season. A huge bombshell was dropped with the release of the lineup, as Travis Hamonic dressed for his first game in the AHL after returning from a leave of absence. 

Unlike the festivities of the day before, Abbotsford was the one that came out firing. The Canucks were the ones that outchanced the Reign in the early going, throwing shots on net. Garret Sparks stood tall though, and as the Canucks committed yet another infraction, Martin Frk made them pay. 

Just over a minute later on yet another powerplay, Jaret Anderson-Dolan banged home the loose puck in front of the goal, past Spencer Martin to give Ontario a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period. Vincent Arseneau got himself involved in some fisticuffs, but that was really all the Canucks had going.

The powerplay markers would continue in the second, though someone else did the scoring. Phil Di Giuseppe got the Abbotsford Canucks on the board at the 5:09 mark, getting a pass down low before coming out in front and sliding it past Sparks.

Sparked on by the tally, Abbotsford would continue to push for the equalizer, their efforts creating some of the best comeback hockey they’ve played. The Reign showed why they are the best team in the Pacific, but it was the Canucks that battled all the way back. 

Four minutes into the third was all it took before the equalizing goal was scored. Driving down the left wing, Sheldon Rempal dished a perfect saucer pass that Dries one-timed home. His third goal in two games, the Canuck now has five goals in seven games this season, leading the way for Abbotsford. 

Just like three of the four games between the two clubs, overtime was needed to solve this affair. The Canucks looked a lot better on Saturday and they had the first chance to end it. Dries blitzed in on the two-on-one opportunity, settling the puck down on his stick and letting one rip. It beat Sparks, but not the post, as the Reign survived the high danger chance. Unfortunately for Abbotsford, off the ensuing draw, TJ Tynan would initiate a beautiful give and go, finishing off the chance past Martin. 

It was a tough defeat, but a bounce-back game from the Canucks by far. They played much better even if the result didn’t go their way. Abbotsford now heads back on the road, traveling down to Stockton to face off against the Heat. The first game is set for November 5th, with a puck drop at 7:00 PM.

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    Michael Liu covers the Abbotsford Canucks for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHCanucks.

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